Jenna Portnoy Reporter covering congressional delegations to the United States of Virginia, Maryland and Mexico. December 5 at 15:52, Meltony and Brandy Billie, their daughter Ashanti would still be their little girl. But when the 19-year-old was kidnapped from her job at a Norfolk military base, they were shocked to learn she was a little too old to qualify for an Amber alert that allegedly exploited the telecommunications network from the country to spread his disappearance. Eleven days later, Ashanti's body was found behind a church in North Carolina, and her parents turned their grief into determination to create an adult missing person alert. Currently, it is up to law enforcement to publish the news of a missing and endangered adult, and the methods vary widely. Under the Ashanti law, a bulletin would be broadcast by television, radio, road signs and mobile phones. Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) Is preparing to introduce a bill establishing a national Ashanti Alert system for missing adults, typically between the ages of 18 and 65. A version in the House of the bill sponsored by Representative Scott Taylor (R-Va.) Passed in September. If successful in the Senate, the bill would go to President Trump's office.
OXON HILL, MD – Brandy Johnson Billie and her ex-husband Meltony Billie have lost their daughter, Ashanti, a 19-year-old student after her disappearance in 2017. (Evelyn Hockstein / For the Washington Post) There is No way Ashanti Billie could have saved such an alert, but her family said that more people would have watched her and that she would have been reassured to know that everything was done to find her. They say the legislation would be their daughter's legacy. "It would mean that his sacrifice was for greater good, just as the sacrifice of Jesus was for greater good," said Meltony Billie of Hyattsville, Maryland. "This alert will keep us raised." At the time of his disappearance September 18 In 2017, Ashanti Billie had recently moved to Norfolk to study Culinary Arts at the Art Institute of Virginia Beach. The family described his personality as sparkling and open. "Ashanti looked like the Punky Brewster of modern times. She has never met a stranger, "said her mother, Brandy Billie, of Oxon Hill, Maryland. His father approved his position at the Blimpie Expeditionary Base on the Little Creek Common Expeditionary Base in Norfolk because he considered it a safe place to work. Ashanti Billie was also a way to support the Armed Forces since her diagnosis of epilepsy had prevented her from enrolling as her parents. Her parents, divorced but remaining friends, served in the army and were assigned to Texas and Germany together. She considered that it was "an opportunity to serve those who serve," said her father. In November 2017, Eric Brian Brown, a veteran of the Navy, was accused of having abducted Ashanti Billie. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was found incompetent to stand trial earlier this year. This summer, Virginia created its own Critical Alert for Missing Adults called Ashanti Alert, which defines the criteria for local, regional and national police for missing adults who are in imminent danger. Federal legislation incorporates the Ashanti Alert into an existing network set up for Blue Alert, intended to inform the public when someone who has assaulted or murdered a police officer is still on the run. It was created in the honor of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, police officers from New York City having been ambushed in December 2014. The Brotherhood Police Order and l & # 39; National Association of Police Organizations say support Ashanti's warning mission, but combining the confusion of risks. [More than a month after 19-year-old Ashanti Billie was found dead, her parents look for answers] Under the House bill, the Department of Justice would hire a national coordinator to define criteria for the use of an Ashanti alert, as misuse could undermine its effectiveness and determine how to protect the privacy and autonomy of missing adults. In the space of one year, the coordinator must indicate to Congress how many states have chosen to implement Ashanti alerts, how many alerts have been issued and how long he has needed to find the missing person after the alert. Robert Lowery of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who runs the Amber Alert program, said the center ensures that the alert for children 17 and under does not become a routine. "We are still concerned about the alarm effect of the car because we would have a desensitized audience because of the overuse of the system, which is why the criteria are important," he said. he declares. Fewer than 200 Amber Alerts are issued each year and most of them are usually resolved through the safe recovery of the child, he said. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has not taken a position on the Ashanti Alerts Act. The new alert "will create a legacy for her but will literally save lives," Congressman Taylor said in an interview. Warner said the alert gave law enforcement another way to find missing adults. "The tragic death of Ashanti should not be in vain," he said. Meltony Billie keeps a copy of the Ashanti Alert bill on her desk. "If this bill can be passed," he said, "I can take it from my office and supervise it."